April 17, 2013 Edition

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Krista Coffell (center) was recognized during a signing ceremony on Thursday at Hoxie Mustang Gymnasium. The senior has committed to the track team at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. On hand for the ceremony were (front): her parents, Christine and Mike Coffell, her niece, Camryn Coffell; (back) Hoxie head track coach Brett Shrable, Crystal Coffell, Kayla Coffell and coach Jim Austin.

Coffell to join UCA track team

Gretchen Hunt

When asked what kind of athlete Hoxie High School's Krista Coffell is, head track coach Brett Shrable simply replied, "The best kind."

The standout athlete in volleyball, basketball and track signed her letter of commitment to the University of Central Arkansas track team on Thursday in front of family, coaches and teammates.

"I don't know what to expect so I'm nervous, but I'm excited at the same time," Coffell said.

While she has excelled at athletics in general, her true love is track and field with an emphasis on the pole vault.

"Pole vault is my strength," she said. "It comes naturally to me."

She has qualified for the Meet of Champs all three years of her high school career thus far and also holds the Class 3A state pole vault record at 10'6", which she set at the state track meet in 2012.

She received All-State honors her ninth-, 10th- and 11th-grade years.

While her strength may be the pole vault, Shrable said she is competitive in every event she participates in.

"She's the best female athlete I've ever been around," he said. "She can do anything in track and field. She enjoys pole vaulting the most, but she can also do running events and could win the triple jump at state."

Shrable said a lot of credit for Coffell's success goes to her personal pole vault coach, Jim Austin, who has worked with her since she was in the fourth grade.

Austin, who is a former coach at Delaplaine High School, also coached Coffell's father, along with his own son, in the 400-meter relay.

"They still had the Delaplaine School record when it closed," the coach said.

He echoed Shrable's sentiments about Coffell's talents as a well-rounded track and field competitor.

"She competes in six events," Austin said. "She has been high point in mostly every event she's ever been to."

At last year's district meet, Coffell won the long jump, high jump, triple jump, pole vault, 100-meter hurdles and 200-meter dash to claim high point honors.

In addition to last year's win that set the record, she also won the state pole vault title as a freshman and sophomore.

Austin said Coffell is the kind of athlete you want to coach.

"You'd love to have every one like that," he said. "Whatever I tell her to do, that's what she does."

She is the daughter of Mike and Christine Coffell of Knobel. Also on hand for her signing were her sister, Kayla Coffell; her sister-in-law, Crystal Coffell; and her niece, Camryn Coffell.

She is the granddaughter of Becky Reed of Paragould, Danny Coffell of Killeen, Texas, and Rose Ebner of Germany and the great-granddaughter of Hattie Coffell of Peach Orchard.

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